"Today the United States has lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion," said Sean Penn after learning Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had lost his long battle with cancer.
However, Penn seemed to find some consolation in his belief that those filling the void left by Chavez will continue to lead Venezuela down a socialistic path: "Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of Vice President Maduro."
As recently as December of last year, Penn took part in a candlelight vigil in Bolivia for the ailing Venezuelan President. There he described Chavez as "one of the most important forces we've had on this planet."
After wishing Chavez "nothing but great strength," Penn added: "I do it in love, and I do it in gratitude."